Brian Thompson ’07, “Stay Youthful, Be Grateful and Always Love.”

BrianThompson

Describe your career path:
“I am Stealing Oceans, an American hip hop artist signed to Starstruck Entertainment in the country music capital of the world – Nashville, TN. I started rapping in middle school, rewriting songs and performing them for my friends at lunch. In high school, I ran into some trouble and ended up at Hyde. Hyde being the school that it is caused me to start dealing with a lot of issues in my life and I found peace in putting my feelings in to rapping. Every night, after lights out, my homie J-Factz (Warren Dorr) would sneak in to my room and we would spend hours freestyling together. That led to us starting a group called House Of Rap with our homie Bhunter (Brett Hunter). At the time, I was taking 2 classes with Matt Newberg and working at the studio during my free time. He and I had (and still have) a great relationship and he was nice enough to give me access to the studio and live sound equipment during after hours. We made the most of the opportunity and spent countless nights writing and rehearsing. Senior year, I put together a tour and we played at 9 different boarding schools around New England including Phillips Andover, Phillips Exeter and Holderness to name a few. Later that year, we recorded our first album, “Graduation” and sold after our commencement in the lobby of the Union. 10 years after releasing that album, Newberg gifted me the 12 channel Jazz Disc machine that we tracked on with our old studio tapes. Love that man.

After that, I was hooked. My mind was set on making a career out of my passion and I never stopped chasing it. I grinded for years while working various restaurant jobs to pay the bills. I wrote hundreds of songs and played hundreds of gigs. I failed a lot but never gave up. Friends and family kept pushing me to finish college but I was committed to proving them wrong. Last May, it happened. I got my deal and my life changed. Today, I wake up every morning, crack a La Croix and work on music. It is truly a blessing and I am forever grateful for the opportunity I have been given.”

Which word or principle has stayed with you the most?
“Humility. The hip hop game is full of ego and I fell victim to that for a long time. I thought I knew it all and I never showed any signs of weakness even though I was falling apart inside. I finally gave up on trying to be anything but myself. I went back to the roots of why I started writing/performing in the first place and everything changed. I didn’t care about my image or others opinions anymore. I stopped pretending like I knew it all and I began to ask for help. Most importantly, I started to give. Giving my time and money to others gave me a whole new feeling of fulfillment. I realized the world is a lot bigger than me and once I started to step out of my own bubble, things got a lot easier.”

Which teacher(s) had a particular impact?
“I was impacted by a lot of teachers at Hyde, the two that come to mind are Matt Newberg and Kell Delaney. Kell introduced me to hiking, meditation, spirituality and my favorite book, The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior. Newberg helped lay the foundation of my music career. He’s the man. He has such a big heart and probably too strong of a conscience :). He taught me theory, sound engineering and the music business. He is a hero in my journey and I am grateful to call him a friend.”

What advice might you give to a Hyde student?
“Do what you love. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Find happiness within and don’t let other bring you down. Contribute to society. Love unconditionally. Ask for help and never give up.

Stay Youthful, Be Grateful and Always Love.”